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FOOTBALL


O


n a sunny day in Watford, I sat down with Scott Tingley in one of the stands overlooking the recently renovated pitch to talk about the challenges he has


faced since joining Watford, and the future for him and the club.


Scott first got a taste for working in the sports turf through his dad. “He was head groundsman at Wembley, so I think I was always destined to it. I wasn’t the greatest at school and working in an office never appealed to me, so I guess I leaned on my dad a little bit; I just thought it made sense.” “Straight from school, at fifteen years old, I started working for my dad’s contracting firm, where I helped with various pitch construction jobs. A position then came up at Chelsea. My dad just happened to be working there that day, when Jason Griffin suddenly turned around to him and said; ‘I’m looking for a new groundsman, do you know of anybody?’ A few months later I started at Chelsea, which was a stroke of luck on two counts; one because, well, it was Chelsea, and two, because it was approaching winter when the work slowed down, and dad was


probably going have to let me go anyway!” “I was at Chelsea for six years where I went through an apprenticeship, and also took my NVQ Level 2 & 3 in sports turf. In May 2009, I went to Arsenal working under Steve Braddock. Whilst there, I did my spraying certificates and I progressed to a more senior role where I would manage projects throughout the day with a team of three to four groundsmen, set up on renovations, construction or general maintenance and make sure the work got done. After seven years at Arsenal, I came to Watford after Paul Burgess was brought in on a consultancy basis. Paul was asked about me by the club and approved of my appointment.”


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I started at Watford in February 2016 and, for one reason or another, the pitch wasn’t great, and they had turfed over the Desso! So, at the end of the season, the turf was removed and we went back to Desso. The first few months where definitely a baptism of fire and the only way was going to be up.” Scott’s inspiration and love of turf hasn’t just come from his dad’s influence. “My initial interest comes from my dad but, in


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terms of inspiration, it is definitely Steve Braddock. The guy is unbelievable; he just has a relentless nature to want to improve. I have never seen anybody work as hard as him. When I say this, you have some people who are there to dig holes and people who are there to cut grass and stuff, but he will do anything and get stuck in. There are not many head groundsmen you will see washing their own machines down at the end of the day, and they are spotless; it’s almost like he went over them with a toothbrush. He is just so exact about what he does. But it’s one of the things you don’t understand and get that full respect for him until you leave. You then realise, on a daily basis, that you are doing all those things he taught you.”


Since Scott first joined the club, he has been responsible for his budgets each season. “Our budget has not changed for a few years, but we have managed pretty well with what we are allocated. Anything extra is a capital expenditure purchase and I will put across a business case to justify my reasons.” “Since I have been here, we have been


PC August/September 2019 97


“ “


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